On the occasion of Esaote’s recent launch of their latest mobile ultrasound diagnostic systems MyLab™ Gamma and MyLab™ Six, HealthManagement sat down with Carlos Faustmann to talk about Esaote’s approach and strategy in the highly competitive ultrasound market.
Congratulations on the launch. It appears these new machines are the perfect diagnostic tools at an affordable price. Please tell us more.
We have been redeveloping our products over the past few years into a portfolio of ultrasound systems designed to run with software and probes specific to each specialty application. This has allowed us to design for different price points and budgets. Recently there has been a lot of concern within healthcare systems globally with regards to the cost of imaging modalities and subsequent reimbursements. Compared to the other imaging modalities, ultrasound is one of the most af fordable modalities available today, and at Esoate we bring over 30 years of experience to our designs and engineering. Not only have we been in this business for a long time, but we manufacture our own probes and design our own software. Now, for the first time, we offer common software that is usable across all our platforms.
Ergonomic Design Minimises Operator Strain
Our customers can custom make their own ultrasound systems and configurations according to their needs. When the workload is high, and the ultrasonographers are manually scanning many patients every day, ergonomics is an important factor. To explore this further, we conducted a study in an Italian University Hospital, and collaborated with a university hospital in the USA, to look at the strain placed on operators of ultrasound machines. We gathered information via detectors on arms, wrists and the neck to determine how they reached out for the screen and so on. Based on this study we have slowly and continuously improved our machines with design engineering.
Extended Range Suits Customer Budgets
To meet the needs of smaller practices, we took the same software used in the MyLab™Seven, and built a new system with the right features for smaller private practices busy with routine examinations, with no compromise on image quality.
Upgrades for Legacy Systems
Esaote is a leader in portable systems. We have a very large installed customer base still using legacy systems. They asked for more modern replacement versions. Our strategy is to continue taking care of our loyal customer base, while offering the latest technology.
With this launch we are also introducing our very first green ultrasound diagnostic tool. It emits a barely audible fan noise, has low power consumption, and uses all the latest electronic advancements to comply with low power consumption and battery operation.
Hospitals who practise cross-departmental collaboration and who wish to share imaging equipment can use our system and adapt it with the software and probe required at that moment, extending their capability to diagnose patients while keeping costs low. This in turn allows us to address not only cardiologists or gynaecologists or other specific healthcare centres, but to provide solutions to shared service providers.
If you are constantly developing your product you must constantly have new software versions. Do you customers have to purchase these?
These are offered free of charge for purchased applications and allow additional purchases of new capabilities or probes. Our current portfolio is entirely upgradable by software. Every year we have a software update, and since all of the MyLab™ Seven, Six, Alpha and Gamma systems run on the same software, there is an annual performance update available for these four models.
What is the Esaote customer experience?
Our products are made for the long term. We do not compromise; all our ultrasound product ranges offer productivity, efficiency and value:
• Value: the device can be used for many applications.
• Efficiency: the machine can be programmed to suit the way each user wants it to work.
• Productivity: enabled through ease-of-use.
For example, to promote productivity, we also offer Wi-Fi connectivity in our latest generation of systems. Wi-Fi allows the users to connect to the establishment’s network and to easily transfer images, use the printer and send data in DICOM industry standard format, giving total flexibility. It also allows remote service diagnostics in case of maintenance issues, to minimise downtime.
We have worked relentlessly to make our products comfortable for the user and for the patient. We recognise that the faster the diagnosis is made, the better.
Now the Esaote customer simply needs to invest in one ultrasound system, equip it with the software and probes of their choice, and be assured of investment protection with our free upgrades. We believe in producing systems that can be easily upgraded, thus ensuring reliability and quality.
Can the data still be given to the patient via CD or memory stick?
Yes. Images can also be transferred from the ultrasound system onto an external PC or network, with appropriate security in place of course.
What is the Esaote philosophy?
We consider ourselves as a partner to our customers. We are aware that customers may have issues, such as the need for faster diagnosis, or the need to solve a workflow issue. Nowadays, we all have to do more with less. Healthcare organisations have fewer people and have to care for more patients. At Esaote we want to continue to figure out how we can make our systems help improve the workflow. We have a physician in our leadership team to ensure that the clinical solutions our customers are looking for are accommodated in our designs.
An important part of our team is the Voice of the Customer, a group of people in marketing, who listen to customers’ needs and feedback. They pass the information to our Research & Development (R&D) team to look at the solution. For example, if a customer says to me: ‘I have a problem. I cannot see the needle very well when I do this procedure”. I will then talk to R&D, who will work on that issue, and in the next release we will have new needle visualisation software.
Carlos Faustmann joined the Esaote Board of Directors in Feb 2011 as a Non Executive Director. In October 2013, he was appointed to the new current position of Chief Global Marketing & Domestic Sales Officer responsible for Domestic Italy Sales and Global Marketing of Ultrasound, Dedicated MRI, Interventional Solutions, Veterinary, Technical Service and Healthcare IT. Carlos has over 30 years Diagnostic Imaging industry experience having held international management & board positions in multinational imaging companies like Aloka, Siemens, and Acuson.
Carlos holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering from University of Santo Thomas, Philippines and Management of High Technology Companies Program of the American Electronics Association at Stanford University Executive Institute of California, USA.